Stripers in the Salt, Trout in the Sweet
Though the striper season opener isn’t for another 10 days or so, some anglers have been enjoying catch and release action on striped bass on Long Island. Western Long Island Sound has been the scene of some of this early action. Small swimming plugs like Red Fins will be a good bet, same with small swim shads and soft-plastics. For a great primer on spring fishing on Long Island, check out Doc Muller’s article on fishing Little Neck Bay for early-season stripers in the March Issue of On The Water. One angler dunking clams at Long Beach tallied a few stripers as well.
Freshwater action is picking up according to Causeway Bait and Tackle in Wantaugh. Trout fishing is in full swing on the island. The ponds and streams have been stocked and the fish are eagerly taking spinners, spoons and small stickbaits. Baits like mealworms, PowerBait and night crawlers will also work for the trout. One of my favorite trout lures is the Trout Magnet jig. Trout can’t seem to resist this small bait. Since the opener, many of the waters have been picked over, but the crew at Causeway said anglers can expect another trout stocking to take place in the next week.
Pickerel are positively ravenous right now. Spinnerbaits, jerkbaits and tubes will tempt most of these mini-pike, but shiners will be automatic. Beef up your leader a bit either when fishing for pickerel. Picks will make quick work of 8-pound test, but 15 resists bite-offs. Using fluorocarbon will help you keep the heavier leader stealthy.
Other freshwater denizens like the homely carp will be feeding more actively as the weather warms up. What carp lack in the looks department, they make up for in size and fighting ability. Sprinkle a pond with some corn as chum and drop a baited hook in the middle and wait. Before long, a carp will come along and give the best drag-screaming run you’ve ever experienced in freshwater.
Sounds like the Montauk cod fishing slowed down from last week’s torrid action, but some keepers were still being caught as of Sunday. The number of boats hitting the cod grounds is thinning out, so be sure to call ahead to see who’s sailing. The Viking Fleet had another successful deepwater trip over the weekend, catching a mix of wreckfish, tilefish, barrelfish and hake.
On Monday, winter flounder season opened up in New York, and fisherman can target these tasty flatfish inside the bays and inlets and in Long Island sound. So far there haven’t been any reports, but last season was pretty good. The guys at Island Bait and Tackle in the Bronx suggested the Lagoon in Orchard Beach and Glen Island Park in New Rochelle. Bring along plenty of chum to bring the flounder to you.
Best Bets for the Weekend
Take advantage of the great freshwater fishing before the saltwater fishing becomes too good to ignore. Look for pickerel or trout, or even big carp in the lakes of Long Island. Largemouth bass are biting well too. Just keep in mind, the season is catch and release only until June, and only artificial lures can be used for the bass.
Some stripers have been sneaking into Long Island waters, so it’s prime time to check some of your favorite early-season haunts. Check out the Long Island fishing planners in the April Issue of On The Water (on sale now at your local tackle shop) for the scoop on where to find your first striper of the season.